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  • Writer's pictureAku Energija

Zdrava japonska šolska kosila - se lahko Slovenija kaj nauči iz njihovih izkušenj?

UNICEF-ovo poročilo, Položaj otrok v svetu, obravnava prehranjevalne navade otrok po vsem svetu. Iz poročila je razvidno, da je Japonska na vrhu lestvice kazalnikov zdravja otrok, saj ima nizko stopnjo umrljivosti dojenčkov in malo otrok s prenizko telesno težo. Med 41 razvitimi državami Organizacije za gospodarsko sodelovanje in razvoj ter Evropske unije, ima prav Japonska najnižjo pojavnost debelosti pri otrocih.

Japonska prehrana je sestavljena iz dobrega ravnovesja med svežo in sezonsko zelenjavo ter žiti. Študije so pokazale številne koristi japonske prehrane za zdravje. Njihove prehranjevalne navade so razširjene tudi na šolska kosila. Končni rezultat niso le zadovoljni učenci, temveč tudi učenci, ki se naučijo odgovornosti in zdravih prehranjevalnih navad. Pričakovana življenjska doba na Japonskem je med najvišjimi na svetu, stopnja debelosti pa je precej pod svetovnim povprečjem.

Pozitivne prehranjevalne navade

Pri zdravih japonskih šolskih kosilih ne gre le za sestavine hrane. Imenujejo ga Shokuiku, kar pomeni "izobraževanje o hrani", in je pomemben del zgodnjega izobraževanja japonskih otrok.

Že v osnovni šoli otroci spoznajo, da je to, kar vnašamo v svoje telo, zelo pomembno za to, kako razmišljamo in se počutimo čez dan - ter kako živimo. Japonska kot država daje prednost šolskemu kosilu. Če si starši ne morejo privoščiti 2,25 evra (v letu 2022) za obrok, otrokom pomagajo ostati siti s programi brezplačnih in znižanih kosil.

Čas kosila je po svojem izobraževalnem pomenu enakovreden šolskemu pouku. Z njim se ne hiti - otroci imajo čas, da se usedejo in pojedo. Otroci postrežejo drug drugemu, da bi okrepili kulturo samozadostnosti in skupnosti. V mnogih šolah ni snažilk. Otroci se naučijo pospravljati za seboj.

Izbira zdrave hrane

Zdrava hrana je več kot le biokemična struktura ter izračun kalorij in hranilne vrednosti. Je povezava s svetom, ki nas obdaja. Zato se otroci z obilico sestavin in različnimi načini kuhanja že zelo zgodaj naučijo sprejemati in ceniti hrano.

Kaj točno strežejo v japonskih šolskih kosilih? Najpogosteje riž, juho, različno zelenjavo in mesno ali ribjo jed. Vsak dan je vključena 200-mililitrska steklenička mleka, enkrat ali dvakrat na mesec pa namesto tega postrežejo mleko z okusom kave ali jogurtov napitek. Riževa jed je navaden beli riž ali pa je zmešan z nečim, kot so gobe ali alge Wakame. Postreže se tudi kot pražen riž ali pilav. Občasno otroci namesto tega dobijo rezance. Kruh se kot osnovna jed pojavi približno enkrat na mesec in je skoraj zagotovo sladek. Sladico postrežejo enkrat ali dvakrat na teden, najpogosteje kos sadja, občasno pa tudi žele ali puding.

Juha je najpogosteje miso juha, postrežejo pa tudi ostale različne juhe, vključno z japonskimi juhami, kot je bistra sumashi jiru, "zahodna" bučna juha in kitajska jajčna juha, kateri se vsak mesec redno pojavljata na meniju. Solate strežejo večino dni in so zelo raznolike - solata iz alg Wakame, solata iz fižolovih kalčkov, francoska solata, krompirjeva solata - vendar so vse sestavine, tudi kumare, kuhane, da se tako prepreči nevarnost izbruha želodčnega virusa.

Fotografije japonskih šolskih kosil si lahko ogledate tukaj.

Kako je pa pri nas v Sloveniji?

Slovenska vlada je podala zelo podrobne smernice o šolski prehrani. V Smernicah za prehranjevanje v vzgojno-izobraževalnih zavodih in Praktikumu jedilnikov zdravega prehranjevanja je “zdrava prehrana” zelo podrobno ponazorjena. Proračun za dnevno kosilo je podoben kot na Japonskem in znaša 2,73 EUR (v letu 2023) na dan. Zakon o šolski prehrani določa, da:

ob upoštevanju načel trajnostne potrošnje zagotavlja kakovostna šolska prehrana, s katero se vpliva na optimalni razvoj učencev in dijakov, na razvijanje zavesti o zdravi prehrani in kulturi prehranjevanja, na vzgajanje in izobraževanje za odgovoren odnos do sebe, svojega zdravja in okolja ter omogoči učencem in dijakom dostopnost do zdrave šolske prehrane;

Kakšna pa je realnost? Najprej naj povem, da po letih dela v Sloveniji še nisem videla tako kaotične opredelitve obrokov, ko je kosilo lahko od 10. do 17. ure. V večini drugih krajev, kjer sem bila, je kosilo glavni obrok okoli 12. do 13. ure, pri čemer je običajno čas za uživanje obroka od 30 do 60 minut. Ta čas obroka je res zapisan v slovenskih smernicah in je v nekem obdobju pomagal mladim šolarjem, saj je zagotovil pravo kosilo okoli 13. ure. Ko pa otroci zapustijo osnovno šolo, v gimnaziji in srednji šoli o tem direktno ne govorijo več. Vsak dan, ko grem v službo, vidim učence, ki na ulici jedo burek in pico, medtem ko se okoli 10.30 vračajo v šolo. Med mojimi pacienti je kar nekaj takih, ki od srednje šole dalje ne jedo več zajtrka. In dijaki niso edini, ki imajo zmedene ali nenavadne prehranjevalne navade, to so pravzaprav odrasli. Večina ljudi poje kosilo/malico ob 9.-10. uri zjutraj, brez zajtrka, nato pa "kosilo" ob 15.-16. uri, ko pridejo domov iz službe. V prejšnjih člankih o cirkadianem ritmu in pomembnosti časa prehranjevanja sem že omenila, kako naše prehranjevalne navade vplivajo na naš metabolizem in splošno zdravje. Glede na družbene norme lahko z žalostjo trdim, da sistem šolske prehrane ni zares dosegel svojega cilja.

Dodatno težavo pri šolskih obrokih predstavlja šola sama. Imam kar nekaj bolnikov, ki delajo v šolski kuhinji. Močno jim primanjkuje osebja. Če za 500 otrok kuhata le dve osebi, kakšno kakovost hrane lahko pričakujete? Veliko njihovega dela predstavlja priprava dveh obrokov in pospravljanje. Včasih se res sprašujem, ali bi bilo namesto kuhanja 2 nekakovostnih obrokov lažje prositi starše, naj pripravijo preprost sendvič, in bi potem v šoli otroci pojedli le en primeren obrok, ki bi bil pripravljen v šolski kuhinji? Poleg tega so učenci res le otroci, vendar niso hendikepirani, mladi so ob ustreznem vodenju in navodilih popolnoma sposobni preproste priprave obrokov in pospravljanja. Naj delajo, kar bi morali, in tako razbremenijo kuhinjsko osebje.

Več razmišljanj in raziskav

Ali se lahko kaj naučimo in spremenimo po zgledu uspeha Japoncev? Nekaj je gotovo: japonske hrane ne moremo preprosto uvrstiti na svoj jedilnik. Ne smemo pa več uporabljati bližnjic glede "zdrave hrane". Preučiti moramo organizacijo, koncept in načela obrokov. Kaj torej lahko storimo v tej situaciji, da bi poskrbeli za našo naslednjo generacijo in naše prihodnje zdravstvo?

 

Japan’s healthy school lunches- Can Slovenia learn from their experience?

A report by UNICEF, The State of the World’s Children, addressed the nutritional habits of children around the world. It shows Japan topping the charts for childhood health indicators, with low rates of infant mortality and few underweight children. Japan also manages the lowest incidence of childhood obesity among the 41 developed countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and European Union.

The Japanese diet is comprised of a good balance of fresh and seasonal greens and grains. Studies have shown various health benefits of the Japanese diet. Their nutritional habits extend to school lunches. The end result isn't just a satisfied student body, but one that learns responsibility and healthy eating habits. Japan's life expectancy is among the highest in the world, while it's rate of obesity is well below the global average.

Positive Eating Habits

The healthy Japanese school lunches is not just about food ingredients. They call it Shokuiku, which means "food and nutrition education," and it's a vital part of the Japanese child's early education.

Beginning in elementary school, kids come to understand that what you put into your body matters a great deal in how you think and feel throughout the day — and how you go about your life. As a country, Japan prioritizes school lunch. If parents can't afford the 2.25€ (in year 2022) cost of a meal, free and reduced lunch programs help kids stay full.

Lunchtime is considered on par with school lessons in its educational importance. It isn't hurried or hasty — kids get the time just to sit and eat. Kids serve one another in an effort to reinforce a culture of self-sufficiency and community. In many schools, there is no janitor. Kids learn to pick up after themselves.

Healthy Food Choices

Healthy food is also more than just biochemical structure and calculation of calories and nutritional value. It is a connection to the world around us. Therefore, through an abundance of ingredients and different cooking methods, kids at the very early age learn to accept and appreciate food.

So what exactly do they eat in the Japanese school lunches? Most often rice, soup, different vegetables and a meat or fish dish. A 200-milliliter bottle of milk is included daily, but once or twice a month coffee milk or a yogurt drink is served instead. The rice dish is plain white rice or mixed with something such as mushrooms or wakame kelp. It also gets served as fried rice or pilaf. Occasionally the kids get noodles instead. Bread appears as the staple about once a month and almost certainly is sweet. Dessert is served once or twice a week, most often as a piece of fruit, but occasionally as a jelly or pudding.

The soup is most often miso soup, but a variety of soups are served, including other Japanese soups, such as the clear sumashi jiru, as well as Western-style pumpkin soup and Chinese-style egg soup, which make regular, monthly appearances. Salads appear most days and come in a wide variety—wakame salad, bean sprout salad, French salad, potato salad—but all ingredients, even cucumber, are cooked to prevent an outbreak of stomach virus.

You can see more photos of the Japanese school lunches here.

How about here in Slovenia?

The goverment of Slovenia actually has given very detailed guidelines about School Meals. There are pages of Guidelines For Nutrition In Educational Institutions (Smernice za prehranjevanje v vzgojno-izobraževalnih zavodih) and Practicum of healthy eating menus (Praktikumu jedilnikov zdravega prehranjevanja) with a very detailed illustration on a “healthy diet”. The budget of daily lunch is similar to Japan at 2.73 € (in year 2023) per day. The School Nutrition Act (Zakon o šolski prehrani) stated that-

taking into account the principles of sustainable consumption, it provides high-quality school food, which influences the optimal development of pupils and students, the development of awareness of healthy food and eating culture, the upbringing and education for a responsible attitude towards oneself, one's health and the environment, and enables pupils and access to healthy school meals for pupils;

What is the reality though? To begin with, after years of working here in Slovenia, I have never seen such a chaotic definition of meals, when a lunch could range from 10 am to 5 pm. In most other places I have been to, lunch is the main meal around 12-1 pm, with usually 30–60 minutes of eating time. This meal time is indeed written on the Slovenian Guidelines and at some point it helped the young student by ensuring a real lunch around 1pm. However, once they have left the primary school, the middle school and high school are not straight about this anymore. Everyday when I go to work, I see students eating burek and pizza on the street while walking back to school around 10:30 am. There are quite a lot of my patients stop eating breakfast since high school. And the students are not the only one to have confusing or unusual eating habits, it is actually the adults. Most people eat lunch/malica at 9-10 am without a breakfast then a “lunch” at 3-4pm when they come home from work. In the previous article about the circadian rhythm and the importance of of meal time, I have already mentioned how our eating habits affect our metabolism and overall health. Judging by the social norm, it is quite sad to say that the school meal guildline has not really fulfilled its objective.

Another difficulty of school meals are from the school itself. I have quite a number of school kitchen chefs patients. They are severally under-staffed. When only 2 people are cooking for 500 kids, what kind of food quality can you expect? A lot of their work come from preparing 2 meals and cleaning up. Sometimes I do wonder, instead of cooking 2 low quality meals, is it easier to ask the parents to prepare a simple sandwich and then just eat one proper meal at school prepared at the school kitchen? Also, students are only kids, but not handicapped, the young ones are completely capable of simple meal preparation and cleaning up with a proper guidance and instruction. Let them do what they are supposed to do and free up the kitchen staff.

More reflections and explorations

Is there anything we can learn and adapt from the success of the Japanese? One thing for sure is that we cannot simply put Japanese food on our menu. We must stop taking the “healthy food” short cut. It should be the organization, concept and principles of meals that we should look into. So, what can we do about this situation, for the seek of our next generation and our future healthcare?


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